The UShas threatened to impose tariffs of up to 100% on $2.4 billion in French goods in retaliation for a digital services tax it says is discriminatory.
French sparkling wine, yogurt and Roquefort cheese are on the list of goods that could be targeted as soon as mid-January after a report from the US Trade Representative's office found the digital tax penalises US tech companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.
The decision "sends a clear signal that the United States will take action against digital tax regimes that discriminate or otherwise impose undue burdens on US companies," US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.
Mr Lighthizer also warned that Washington was considering widening the investigation to look into similar taxes in Austria, Italy, and Turkey.
"The USTR is focused on countering the growing protectionism of EU member states, which unfairly targets US companies, whether through digital services taxes or other efforts that target leading US digital services companies," he said.
The announcement came just hours before President Donald Trump is due to meet his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the NATO summit in London today.
The French tax, enacted earlier this year, imposes a 3% levy on the revenues earned by technology firms in France, which often come from online advertising and other digital services.
The tax affects companies with least €750 million ($830m) in annual global revenue on their digital activities.
The French tax targets revenue instead of profits, which are often reported by tech giants in low-tax jurisdictions like Ireland in a practice that has enraged governments.
The USTR report "concluded that France's Digital Services Tax (DST) discriminates against US companies, is inconsistent with prevailing principles of international tax policy, and is unusually burdensome for affected US companies."
After the tax was enacted, Mr Trump in July vowed "substantial" retaliation for the French measure.
The USTR has scheduled public hearings on the proposal to imposes "duties of up to 100 percent on certain French products," and the possibility of "imposing fees or restrictions on French services."
The last date to submit comments on the proposed actions is 14 January, and "USTR expects to proceed expeditiously thereafter."
The list of French products subject to potential duties includes cosmetics, porcelain, soap, handbags, butter, and several kinds of cheeses, including Roquefort, Edam and Gruyere.
However, despite Mr Trump's repeated threats to retaliate against French wines, only sparkling wine made the tariff list.
France and the European Union are ready to fight back over the latest US tariff threats on French products, French government ministers said today.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire described the US proposals as "unacceptable".
"In case of new American sanctions, the European Union would be ready to riposte," Le Maire told Radio Classique.
French junior economy minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told Sud Radio that France would be "pugnacious" in its dealings with the US on the matter, and that France would not back down on its digital tax plans.
The latest ruling by the US government knocked down leading French luxury-goods stocks today.
Shares in LVMH, Kering and Hermes fell 1.4% to 1.5% in early trading.